Georgia Bio Announces Keynote and Featured Speakers for Annual Innovation Summit
Tuesday, October 02, 2018 10:54 AM

American Cancer Society CEO Gary M. Reedy to discuss organization’s new venture fund to commercialize promising new cancer therapies Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield in conversation with Chief Medical Officers from Quest and Abbvie to discuss digital health innovation in the 21stcentury

Atlanta, Georgia (October 2, 2018) – Georgia Bio announced today keynote and featured speakers for its Annual Innovation Summit, Tues., Oct. 9, 2018 at Cobb Galleria. Gary M. Reedy, CEO, American Cancer Society (ACS), will discuss the organization’s new venture fund and its plans to commercialize cancer-focused therapies, medical devices and technologies. 

Following his keynote address on “Capital Continuum from Research to Commercialization,” Reedy will be joined by Robert L. Crutchfied, managing director of the new ACS BrightEdge Ventures, and Rob King, senior vice president, Enterprise Planning and Business IntegrationACS, in a fireside chat led by Tiffany Wilson, CEO, Global Center for Medical Innovation, 2018 Summit Chair to discuss the fund’s plans to support emerging technologies and its impact on future cancer research and treatment. “It has been an honor to Chair this year’s Summit,” Wilson says. “Along with Gary, Bob and Rob, I am eager to highlight our ecosystem’s latest advancements including ACS’s approach to addressing gaps in the capital continuum for medtech and bio-innovators. We hope to demonstrate how this approach will translate into faster time-to-cures and lower cost of development and care.”

In the area of digital health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield will kick-off a luncheon keynote panel on the “Future of Digitalization in Health.” Joining him will be prominent chief medical officers Dr. Rob Scottof Abbvie and Dr. Jay Wolgemuth of Quest Diagnostics. This panel will provide an overview perspective of digital health for decision makers in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries and the scientific and clinical community.

The Summit is the largest gathering of life science leaders in the state. According to the2018 TECONOMY/Biotechnology Innovation Organization report, the state’s bioscience firms have grown their employment base by 10.6 percent since 2014 and employed just over 32,000 in 2016. The number of companies has grown by 16 percent during this same period and now number 2,431 across the state. Georgia’s research universities conducted nearly $1.1 billion in bioscience-related academic R&D in 2016; funded, in part, by a growing base of National Institutes of Health awards that reached $537 million in FY 2017.

As many as 500 CEOs, senior executives, investors, university scientists, physicians, and public policy experts are expected to attend the day-long Summit. In addition to the keynote speakers, the Summit will feature more than 50 experts in panel discussions highlighting the full range of bioscience innovation in Georgia. The day-long program will cover the span of life science sectors including biotech/pharma, medical devices, diagnostics, academic research, and healthcare IT.  

“We’re excited to host two of the U.S.’s leading experts in life sciences at this year’s Summit, Gary Reedy of ACS and Dr. Robert Redfield of the CDC,” said Georgia Bio Chair, Patricia Fritz, Vice President, U.S. Corporate Affairs at UCB Inc. “We believe the future of the life sciences is strong in Georgia, thanks to established and emerging companies that call our state home. The Summit will be a great showcase of the life sciences industry creating hundreds of jobs, the presence of new venture funds to commercialize research, and our world-class research institutions.” 

The breakout sessions throughout the day will focus on Digital Health Innovations Impact on Population Health; Increasing Minority Patient Enrollment in Clinical Trials; Advancing Immunotherapy Breakthroughs; Innovations in Advanced Manufacturing; the EB-5 Visa Program; Capital Raising, and more. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in peer-to-peer, small group interactive best practice Roundtables facilitated by industry leaders across several functional areas such as regulatory compliance and training and purchasing and procurement. 

Georgia’s bioscience industry has consistently outpaced the national growth rate and contributes significantly to the state economy. Attendees will get a chance to learn more about emerging technologies from Georgia’s universities and companies by stopping by the Innovation Stage during the exhibition breaks.  

The Summit serves as the only life sciences exposition in Georgia with an Exhibit Hall featuring the latest research, technology and services at companies, universities and other organizations.  The Summit also features a scientific poster contest where representatives from Georgia-based academia, research institutes and industry alike will showcase their research. The Anthony Shuker Scientific Poster Awards sponsored by UCB will be presented by Stacy Williams Shuker, Ph.D., Down South Innovation.  

The conference will close with a panel discussion on “The Future of Life Sciences in Georgia,” presented by Georgia Research Alliance, Metro Atlanta Chamber, Georgia Global Health Alliance and Georgia Bio. Speakers will discuss the latest efforts to improve access to capital, grow our workforce, and develop resource and innovation centers to position Georgia as a leading state for biosciences. Immediately following remarks, the event will close with a networking reception.

For more information about the Summit, please visit    

About Georgia Bio

Georgia Bio ( is the state’s private, non-profit life sciences association. Members include pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies, medical centers, universities and research institutes, government groups and other business organizations involved in the development of life sciences related products and services.


Media Registration: Registration is complimentary forcredentialed members of the news media. To request media registration, please contact Maria Thacker at [email protected]| 404-920-2042. 

Georgia Bio Appoints Maria Thacker Acting President and CEO
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 01:14 PM

Atlanta, Georgia (September 26, 2018) – Georgia Bio today announced that Maria Thacker Goethe has assumed the role of Acting President and CEO for the trade association and the Georgia BioEd Institute. She will also remain in her capacity as Executive Director for the Georgia Global Health Alliance.

Ms. Thacker Goethe has served in a variety of roles for Georgia Bio over the years including Marketing, Membership and Project Manager. Since 2013, she served as Vice President of Operations. An innovative thinker with broad-based expertise in operations, community relationship building, and marketing Ms. Thacker Goethe has been a driving force behind Georgia Bio’s programs and the development of the Georgia BioEd Institute. As the organization has grown, Ms. Thacker Goethe’s role and responsibilities have continued to increase and evolve. Her institutional knowledge of the organization and the community positions Georgia Bio for continued success. 

GeoVax Awarded $2.4 Million from U.S. Department of Defense to Advance Lassa Fever Vaccine
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 09:09 AM

Atlanta, GA - (NewMediaWire) - September 26, 2018 - via NEWMEDIAWIRE -- GeoVax Labs, Inc. (OTCQB: GOVX), a biotechnology company developing innovative human vaccines, announced today that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded the Company a $2,442,307 cooperative agreement in supportof its novel Lassa Fever (LF) vaccine development program. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity pursuant to the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP), part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). In addition to the grant funds provided directly to GeoVax, DoD will also fund testing of the GeoVax vaccine by U.S. Army scientists under a separate subaward.

The project award, entitled “Advanced Preclinical Development and Production of Master Seed Virus of GEO-LM01, a Novel MVA-VLP Vaccine Against Lassa Fever”, will support generation of immunogenicity and efficacy data for GeoVax’s LF vaccine candidate in both rodent and nonhuman primate models, as well as manufacturing process development and cGMP production of vaccine seed stock in preparation for human clinical trials. The work will be performed in collaboration with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), the Geneva Foundation, and Advanced Bioscience Laboratories (ABL).

The Georgia Research Alliance Names Russell Allen as President and CEO
Thursday, September 20, 2018 05:13 PM

ATLANTA, Sept. 20, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) announces today that it has named Russell Allen as the organization’s new President and CEO. 

Russell joins GRA after serving as the president and CEO of Georgia Bio for the past five years. Georgia Bio is the state’s life science industry association, charged with promoting and advocating for the interests and growth of medical technology and biopharmaceutical companies. 

Before Georgia Bio, Russell served as president and CEO of BioFlorida, Florida’s bioscience association. His earlier career in Georgia includes co-founding and leading a regional partnering and commercialization association, BioSouth, and serving as the first VP of Biosciences at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. 

“We are excited to welcome Russell to GRA,” said Larry Gellerstedt, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Georgia Research Alliance. “He brings a wealth of expertise in the bioscience and technology sectors and has experience working together with corporations, universities, and government on a shared mission for growing Georgia’s economy.” 

Early on in his career, Russell was a tech entrepreneur and launched one of the country’s first digital marketing and consulting firms, based in Atlanta. Subsequently, he created and led a marketing agency with a focus on healthcare and biotechnology. Recently, Russell partnered with healthcare leaders and the GRA to found the Bio/Med Investor Network, aimed at connecting early-stage biomedical and health innovation companies with angel investors. Russell currently serves as a director on numerous industry boards and advisory councils and served as chairman of the U.S. Council of State Bioscience Associations. 

“Our universities are drivers of innovation and new startups,” said Russell Allen. “GRA has been a tremendous asset to our state for almost three decades; I look forward to carrying on its legacy and helping grow our innovation economy in Georgia.”


About The Georgia Research Alliance

The Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) grows Georgia’s economy by expanding university research capacity and seeding and shaping startup companies around inventions and discoveries. For over twenty-five years, GRA has worked to strengthen the university research enterprise in Georgia by working in partnership with the University System of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Economic Development to create the companies and jobs of Georgia's future.  Visit www.gra.orgfor more information.

Alpharetta biopharmaceutical company names GC & chief compliance officer
Thursday, September 20, 2018 12:00 AM

An Alpharetta, Ga., biopharmaceutical company developing eye disease treatments has hired a general counsel and chief compliance officer.

Leslie Zacks will step into the newly created role at Clearside Biomedical Inc. (NASDAQ:CLSD).

Zacks most recently served as vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer at Arbor Pharmaceuticals in Atlanta. Prior to joining Arbor, Zacks was executive vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer at Shionogi Pharma Inc. from 2004 to 2010. From 2002 to 2004, he worked at Hunton & Williams LLP, where he was a partner in the Intellectual Property Litigation department. 

Zacks is a registered patent attorney who has held associate positions at Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy LLP and at Webb, Carlock, Copeland, Semler and Stair LLP. His bachelor's degree and law degree are from the University of Florida.

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